by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
I am so proud to be a Delta. We are 98 years old today, January 13, 2011. We made history way back when others were afraid to think outside the box, let alone step outside of it.
We, who proudly wear the Nine White Pearls and the Creme and Crimson, were and are the trailblazers in service to our Eclectically Black sisters and brothers. We proudly celebrate our contemporary sorors as well as those who have gone before us, such as:
The late Dr. Dorothy I. Height President Emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women, and president of Delta Sigma Theta;
Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the Bethune Cookman College; National Council of Negro Women; and advisor to president Franklin Delano Roosevelt;
Aretha Franklin who has rocked America for the past three decades and has generated 17 number-one songs. No wonder she is known as “The Queen of Soul”
Carol Moseley-Braun – the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992.
Wilma Rudolph – first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympiad; was Track Director and Special Consultant on Minority Affairs at DePaww University.
Betty Shabazz – Before her untimely death in 1997, Soror Dr. Betty Shabazz was the Director of Communications and public Relations for Medger Evers College of the city University of New York. She was also the widow of our Black Shining Prince, Brother Malcolm X (el Hajj Malik el Shabazz).
Niara Sudarkasa – first woman president of Lincoln University, America’s oldest historically Black college (and my Alma Mater). Prior to he appointment at Lincoln, she made history by becoming the first Black woman to receive tenure at the University of Michigan.
Alexa Canady, M.D. – At age 26 became the first Black women neurosurgeon in the United States. She specializes in pediatric neurosurgery.
Natalie Cole -This beautiful, soulful jazz/pop/R&B/Urban Contemporary singer is the daughter of the late Nat “King” Cole and is just as successful today as her legendary father.
Erika Dunlap – 2004 Miss America
Roberta Flack – Singer of ” Killing Me Softly with His Song” She just recently perform a duet at the 2010 Grammys with R&B Soulster Maxwell. Perfection.
Frankie Muse Freeman – Civil rights attorney; First woman to be appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1964 to 1979),
Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actress, writer, activist
Camille Cosby: producer, writer, philanthropist (hubby is an Omega),
The Hon. Joyce Dinkins, former first lady of the City of New York,
Nikki Giovanni - Poet, writer, educator
T'Keyah Crystal Keyman - Actress
Billie Holliday-Hodge - Former Deputy Commissioner of Police NYPD; former commissioner of Police in Mt. Vernon, NY
Charlayne Hunter Gault: News caster, formerly with the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour; now residing in South Africa;
Florence "Flo" Anthony: Publisher, writer, gossip columnist
Annette M. Robinson: former City Council Representative for Brooklyn's 36 CD, currently member of the New York State Assembly's 56 AD in Brooklyn, NY.
Johnetta Cole - First African American Female President of Spelman College
Dr. Julianne Malveaux: Economist, philosopher, author
Cicely Tyson: Fabulous Actress, activist
Theresa Merritt: Actress -
Ruby Dee (Davis): Actress, activist, author, philosopher, and dynamic soul mate to Ossie Davis for over 50 years
Mara Brock Akil: Writer, producer, author -creator of Girlfriends & The Game
Lena Horne: Everything
Nancy Wilson: The voice and the style
Judith Jamison: Dance Theatre of Harlem's legendary role model
Paula Giddings: author
Keshia Knight Pulliam - A Cosby protege, and always ahead of the game
There are so many more of my sorors (and yes, I do love to brag about being Delta) - but this could end up being a fifteen page blog if I even attempted to list a quarter of those sorors who have contributed to the well being of our people through service and caring. Suffice it to say we are two hundred fifty thousand strong (250,000!!!) and growing- nationally and internationally.
As a community service sorority, a strong public or community service is a pre-requisite before you are even considered as a pledgee - i.e., you already have to be about it.
Historically speaking, after a considerable amount of deliberation, research, meeting, and creativity, twenty-two young Black ladies, who at the time were members of another sorority at Howard University in DC, made a pivotal decision - to withdraw from the current sorority to form a sorority based on service to Black people. In other words they had a philosophical parting of the ways. They felt they were more needed, and could be more useful in the fields of education, health, and public service.
To date those twenty two, fabulous, elegant, autonomous Black women have each increased their presence more than 11 thousand times (mathematically speaking)-- spiritually, physically, mentally, socially -- each of us Deltas carries the spirit of our 22 progenitors with us as we go out into our respective communities and millieus. We carry with us their love, strength of character and conviction, intelligence, creativity, dedication, and compassion.
This day, Thursday January 13, 2011 is our 98th Founders Day. We celebrate each other and those 22 brave, beautiful founding sorors. Happy Birthday and Congratulations to all my Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta, from your Soror Gloria Dulan-Wilson.
Stay Blessed &
Soror Gloria Dulan-Wilson